There are 13 runners in the race tomorrow and, in all honesty, it’s not the greatest race. The obvious favourite is Ultimate Horseman but he also has a few question marks about him having finished 2nd in each of his last five races; coming back in trip to 2 ½ miles and also wearing blinkers for the first time. Of the others Little Mitch is having her first run over hurdles, is wearing a hood for the first time but has shown some half-decent form in Bumpers; the next in the betting is Kentucky Lass but she is only rated 84 and it would be very disappointing if we aren’t much better than that even if she gets plenty of allowances tomorrow.
It’s crazy in so many ways: there are two things that are certain but lead you to very different conclusions and outcomes:
1) If Bay of Freedom runs and jumps like he did at Galway then he not only won’t win but may not even be placed, but then again:
2) The horse who finished 9th in the Cheltenham Bumper should be winning this with ‘his head in chest’
The question boils down to: which Bay of Freedom will turn up tomorrow night? Actually, that’s a little unfair; implying, as it does, that he is not consistent or is not genuine – I don’t believe that is the case at all. I firmly believe there is something bothering him; hopefully, with the tweaks we have made, any issues have been sorted out.
The ground has dried out to Good (Good to firm in places) and this will not be an issue for us (even if the few showers forecast actually materialize)
The initial odds have us as second favourite , at around 5/1, behind Ultimate Horseman and that seems pretty fair ; arguably a bit short if you take his Galway form literally. I just hope he jumps better and enjoys himself and is not feeling any pain; if that happens, and he is able to run his race, then he really does have every chance.
I’ve just been reading some of the preview comments on various racing websites; overall, they are pretty fair and are understandably cautious given Bay of Freedom’s two hurdling performances and give most prefer Ultimate Horseman or even Little Mitch (Atttheraces). The Racing Post, unusually, are in our camp this time; this is what they said:
Perhaps BAY OF FREEDOM can get his jumping together in this easier contest and his bumper form is pretty persuasive at this level.
Bay Of Freedom: Galway bumper winner last October, after which he wasn´t totally disgraced in the big ones at Cheltenham and Punchestown; beaten favourite when third on switch to hurdling at Down Royal but Galway last time was a tough assignment (could still have done better); jumping needs to improve but sure to win soon
Contrast this with the unsolicited comments from a self-proclaimed racing expert, Mrs Beryl Leech (my supportive mother):
“I don’t know how he can be 2nd favourite after how’s he’s been running; he was last time and, let’s be honest, he’s not very good is he? The other horses must be really poor if he’s fancied to win”
I will post after the race tonight with all of the updates, perspectives , excuses and explanations that you can handle